Friday, February 18, 2011

Helium is upgrading to four point oh no

Warning: the following is a rant!

Just tried to check my rating stars over on Helium, something that I do everyday. And couldn't.

Helium is upgrading to their 4.0 version (as they are calling it).

I managed to see some of the changes before the site went back into upgrade limbo (5:30 to 6:30 EST)---hmmm, counting on my fingers that announcement does not seem to match the current time.

One of the changes is that they moved the stats for the rating stars. Basically, they have hid it at the bottom of a page (I was in the process of looking for it when the limbo came back). The official answer is that no one wants to be greeted by their low rating numbers first thing on arrival.

Hey, that is the only reason I log into Helium is to check my rating stats. And I won't do that even if I wasn't earning something from a couple of articles to justify the time spent rating every month.

Yes, I will admit that I have more or less quit writing for Helium. I just don't have the time to continously leapfrog articles that are drowning in the ratings because I wrote a general article and everyone else is shouting about the injustices of the world. It is sad to say, but political and religious rants outperform reasoned and neutral articles in the rating process.

One of the biggest changes is that they are going to start adding the date that the articles were created and last updated. On one hand, it is very much needed---I have complained about the lack of dates on articles before (is this recent? or something written three years ago?). On the other hand, I wonder how old (as in written and not updated recently) articles are going to be affected earnings wise.

Unfortunately, I can imagine people just leapfrogging articles (without actually changing a single word or punctuation mark) merely to get a more recent update date listed. I have a feeling that some of my articles have tanked simply because other people continously leapfrog their articles until they found the right set of raters and the article goes higher in the ratings. Let's just give them one more reason to hit leapfrog without making any actual changes, shall we?!

Yes, it is a form of paranoia that I suffer from.

Helium also has introduced a "Needs Improvement" page---a page that shows you the fifteen articles that your rating is the lowest on. For me, this is an useless improvement. All fifteen that are showed are articles that I will never actually leapfrog.

There is a reason I don't leapfrog certain articles and never will. Either they are in the "got a whole penny from the article in its entire existence" or the article is very, very outdated. For instance, "Predicting the outcome of the war in Iraq" is something terribly outdated. And I am not going to leapfrog any of the poetry or fiction I published there---it is not worth my time and energy to do so.

In fact, with the style of writing I do, I am better off spending the same amount of time that it would take to rewrite an article and leapfroging it to write completely brand new article and publish it somewhere else. Sad, but true. While there are good things to be said about this new upgrade (I like the tweet button on every page), the biggest changes are just going to annoy me.

Heaven forbid that my top two earners quit making money on Helium---because I am so out of there when that day comes. Or at least, I will be if I am having one of "those days."

If you want to actually read something that I wrote on Helium, here is a link to an article about Why Count and Length are Important for Helium Articles. Provided of course, that the site is not currently in update limbo.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Quote of the day: Writing and the Sports illustrated Swimsuit issue

A writing assignment for the swimsuit issue is a dream come true for the Sports Illustrated staffer. He grabs an exotic dateline and the guarantee that no one will read anything he comes up with.
---Bryan Curtis